Announcing Hive Research Lab, an applied research partner of the Hive NYC Learning Network

It gives us great pleasure to announce the launch of Hive Research Lab! As an applied research partner of the Hive NYC Learning Network and collaboration between Indiana University and New York University, our mandate is to strengthen the network through generating data-driven insights, engaging in collaborative work with network members, and bringing in the best ideas from the research literature.

The lab has a great team led by Rafi Santo and Dixie Ching, both former Hive NYC network members, along with Dr. Kylie Peppler and Dr. Chris Hoadley.

For readers that aren’t familiar with the Hive NYC, it’s a city-wide community of 56 after school institutions including museums, libraries, colleges and community-based organizations that collaborate on creating innovative learning experiences for youth. The network emerged from early work to bring theory into practice in the field of Digital Media and Learning, and aims to embody principles of Connected Learning in its work with young people – focusing on production-centered pedagogies, fueled by youth interests, and powered through peer learning and collaboration.

Hive Research Lab will be conducting research that helps Hive NYC achieve collectively articulated goals, but we won’t just be sitting on the sidelines as we do that. We’ll be working with Hive member organizations as well as the network stakeholders at the Mozilla Foundation (Hive “HQ”)  and the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund at the New York Community Trust to think about how we can make a better network both for New York City kids and the out-of-school organizations that make up the NYC informal learning landscape. Our work will mainly center around how to better support Hive NYC youth trajectories and pathways and how networks can provide a robust context for development and spread of learning innovations. What that looks like on the ground is a lot of knocking on Hive NYC member doors, observations of youth programs in action, interviews with Hive NYC members and youth, facilitating design processes with network members, and just generally doing work to understand all the activity that takes place in the Hive.

We created a project blog because we’re committed to being transparent about what we’re doing, and to being relevant on the ground to Hive NYC. Typically, academic journal article publications just happen too slowly to give real-time, usable information for the context under study. Information shared with Hive NYC members two years after something happens might be interesting, but likely won’t be able to affect decisions that they’re making now. So, we want to use this space to share emergent findings, post about relevant research and projects we’re paying attention to, and open up discussions around what we’re seeing on the ground as we do our research. We hope that this sort of tighter feedback loop between research and practice can really help make a difference as the Hive NYC grapples with how it wants to move itself forward.

Watch this space in the coming weeks and months to hear more about the studies that are at the core of HRL, the questions we’re thinking about as we get the lab off the ground, and what we’re starting to see as we get a ‘baseline’ sense of network activity this summer. And don’t hesitate to be in touch if you want to learn more!

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